Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel Ati - Press Photo
CAIRO - 6 September 2017: The Egyptian government approved on Wednesday, during its meeting, the new law on water resources and irrigation, announced the Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel Ati in a press conference.
Last July, Egypt’s House of Representatives mulled new amendments to the Law of Irrigation, to toughen the punishment for encroachments on the Nile water, amid water scarcity that a 91-million-people’s country suffers from.
The amendments, which have been drafted by the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, label encroachment crime as a felony, which is punishable by prison, not as a misdemeanor, according to a ministry’s statement on the draft law in June. The encroachments include illegal construction on the Nile’s banks, unlicensed fish farming, industrial waste and other forms of pollution.
Since January 2015, the ministry has launched a campaign to remove violations that had been detected by the government on the Nile banks. As per the ministry’s latest data, which was announced Tuesday, a total of 26,322 violations of encroachment on the Nile banks have been removed. Since March 2017, a total of 12,425 cases of encroachment were removed, according to the data.
Egypt’s average water resources per capita have dropped to 663 cubic meters per year, and are expected to plummet to 582 cubic meters by 2025, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) in 2014; meanwhile the international benchmark is 1,000 cubic meters annually per capita.
The cabinet discussed during its Wednesday meeting, under Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, a set of economic and social files as well as draft laws.
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